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c  is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to

make electricity, wind mills for mechanical power, wind pumps for pumping water ordrainage, or sails to
propel ships.

At the end of 2009, worldwide nameplate capacity of wind-powered generators was
159.2gigawatts (GW). Energy production was 340 TWh, which is about 2% of worldwide electricity
usage; and has doubled in the past three years. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels
of wind power penetration (with large governmental subsidies), such as 20% of stationary electricity
production in Denmark, 14% in Ireland[3] and Portugal, 11% in Spain, and 8% in Germany in 2009.
As of
May 2009, 80 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.

Large-scale wind farms are connected to the electric power transmission network; smaller facilities are
used to provide electricity to isolated locations. Utility companies increasingly buy back surplus
electricity produced by small domestic turbines. Wind energy, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is
plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during
operation. However, the construction of wind farms is not universally welcomed because of their visual
impact and other effects on the environment.

Wind power is non-dispatchable, meaning that for economic operation, all of the available output must be
taken when it is available. Other resources, such as hydropower, and load management techniques must
be used to match supply with demand. The intermittency of wind seldom creates problems when using
wind power to supply a low proportion of total demand, but as the proportion rises, problems are created
such as increased costs, the need to upgrade the grid, and a lowered ability to supplant conventional
production.[5][6][7] Power management techniques such as exporting excess power to neighboring areas or
reducing demand when wind production is low, can mitigate these problems.

Humans have been using wind power for at least 5,500 years to propel sailboats and sailing ships.
Windmills have been used for irrigation pumping and for milling grain since the 7th century AD in what is
now Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

In the United States, the development of the "water-pumping windmill" was the major factor in allowing
the farming and ranching of vast areas otherwise devoid of readily accessible water. Wind pumps
contributed to the expansion of rail transport systems throughout the world, by pumping water from water
wells for the steam locomotives.[8] The multi-bladed wind turbine atop a lattice tower made of wood or
steel was, for many years, a fixture of the landscape throughout rural America. When fitted with
generators and battery banks, small wind machines provided electricity to isolated farms.

In July 1887, a Scottish academic, Professor James Blyth, undertook wind power experiments that
culminated in a UK patent in 1891.[9] In the United States, Charles F. Brush produced electricity using a

wind powered machine, starting in the winter of 1887-1888, which powered his home and laboratory until
about 1900. In the 1890s, the Danish scientist and inventor Poul la Courconstructed wind turbines to
generate electricity, which was then used to produce hydrogen. These were the first of what was to
become the modern form of wind turbine.

Small wind turbines for lighting of isolated rural buildings were widespread in the first part of the 20th
century. Larger units intended for connection to a distribution network were tried at several locations
including Balaklava USSR in 1931 and in a 1.25 megawatt (MW) experimental unit in Vermont in 1941.

The modern wind power industry began in 1979 with the serial production of wind turbines by Danish
manufacturers Kuriant, Vestas, Nordtank, and Bonus. These early turbines were small by today's
standards, with capacities of 20±30 kW each. Since then, they have increased greatly in size, with the
Enercon E-126 capable of delivering up to 7 MW, while wind turbine production has expanded to many

Wind energy

Energy is the Betz limit through a 100 m (328 ft) diameter circle facing directly into the wind. Total energy for the year through that circle was 15. The histogram shows measured data. along with this. while the curve is the Rayleigh model distribution for the same average wind speed. such that the poles receive less energy from the sun than the equator. . The Earth is unevenly heated by the sun.  Distribution of wind speed (red) and energy (blue) for all of 2002 at the Lee Ranch facility in Colorado. Most of the energy stored in these wind movements can be found at high altitudes where continuous wind speeds of over 160 km/h (99 mph) occur.4 gigawatt-hours (GW·h). Eventually. dry land heats up (and cools down) more quickly than the seas do. The differential heating drives a global atmospheric convection system reaching from the Earth's surface to the stratosphere which acts as a virtual ceiling.

the wind energy is converted through friction into diffuse heat throughout the Earth's surface and the atmosphere. compared to about 15 TW average global power consumption from all sources in 2005. Not all the energy of the wind flowing past a given point can be recovered (see Wind energy physics and Betz' law). The total amount of economically extractable power available from the wind is considerably more than [10] present human power use from all sources. 4  . An estimated 72 terawatt (TW) of wind power on the Earth [11] potentially can be commercially viable.

The Weibull model closely mirrors the actual distribution of hourly wind speeds at many locations. but simpler model. Different locations will have different wind speed distributions. and an average value for a given location does not alone indicate the amount of energy a wind turbine could produce there. The consequence is that wind energy from a particular turbine or wind farm does not have as consistent an output as fuel-fired power plants. rotor shaft and brake assembly) being lifted into position . The Weibull factor is often close to 2 and therefore a Rayleigh distribution can be used as a less accurate. To assess the frequency of wind speeds at a particular location. batteries. Because so much power is generated by higher wind speed. The 2002 Lee Ranch sample is telling. Problems of variability are addressed by grid energy storage. Making wind power more consistent requires that various existing technologies and methods be extended. in particular the use of stronger inter-regional transmission lines to link widely distributed wind farms.[13] Electricity generation Typical components of a wind turbine (gearbox. a probability distribution function is often fit to the observed data. utilities that use wind power provide power from starting existing generation for times when the wind is weak thus wind power is primarily a fuel saver rather than a capacity saver.[12] half of the energy available arrived in just 15% of the operating time.     The strength of wind varies. much of the energy comes in short bursts. pumped- storage hydroelectricity and energy demand management.

[19][20] . averaging to 0.[16][17]     Worldwide installed capacity 1997±2020 [MW]. induction generators cannot support the system voltage during faults. this medium-voltage electric current is increased in voltage with a transformer for connection to the high voltage electric power transmission system.760 MW·h in a year (1 × 24 × 365). be fed into the network and sold to the utility company. Data source: WWEA Since wind speed is not constant. developments and prognosis. unlike steam or hydro turbine-driven synchronous generators. require reactive power for excitation sosubstations used in wind-power collection systems include substantial capacitor banks for power factor correction. Different types of wind turbine generators behave differently during transmission grid disturbances. with values at the upper end of the range in particularly favourable sites. producing a retail credit for the microgenerators' owners to offset [14][15] their energy costs. but only 1 × 0.35 MW. often used for wind power. constancy of frequency and dynamic behavior of the wind farm turbines during a system fault. At a substation. In particular. The ratio of actual productivity in a year to this theoretical maximum is called the capacity factor. a wind farm's annual energy production is never as much as the sum of the generator nameplate ratings multiplied by the total hours in a year.5 kV). This will include power factor. power collection system and communications network. Transmission systems operators will supply a wind farm developer with a ÷  to specify the requirements for interconnection to the transmission grid. Online data is available for some locations and the capacity factor can be calculated from the yearly output.[18]For example. r   Induction generators.In a wind farm. individual turbines are interconnected with a medium voltage (often 34. The surplus power produced by domestic microgenerators can. a 1 MW turbine with a capacity factor of 35% will not produce 8.066 MW·h. in some jurisdictions. Doubly-fed machines generally have more [÷  ] desirable properties for grid interconnection . so extensive modelling of the dynamic electromechanical characteristics of a new wind farm is required by transmission system operators to ensure predictable stable behaviour during system faults (see: Low voltage ride through).35 × 24 × 365 = 3. Typical capacity factors are 20±40%.

Electrical utilities continue to study the effects of large (20% or more) scale [23][24][25] penetration of wind generation on system stability and economics. this reserve capacity can also serve to regulate for the varying power generation by wind plants. Capacity factors of other types of power plant are based mostly on fuel cost. and other factors.Unlike fueled generating plants. demand management. some degree of dispatchable energy. Nuclear plants have low incremental fuel cost. there are few technical limits. _   Kitegen Wind energy "penetration" refers to the fraction of energy produced by wind compared with the total available generation capacity. Gas turbine plants using natural gas as fuel may be very expensive to operate and may be run only to meet peak power demand. There is no generally accepted "maximum" level of wind penetration. pricing mechanisms.S. [26] . The capacity factor achieved by new wind turbines in 2004 and 2005 reached 36%. the capacity factor is limited by the inherent properties of wind. with a small amount of downtime for maintenance. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The limit for a particular grid will depend on the existing generating plants. the capacity factor achieved by the wind turbine fleet is shown to be increasing as the technology [21] improves. These studies have been for locations with geographically dispersed wind farms. and interconnection to a large grid area export of electricity when needed. Studies have indicated that 20% of [22] the total electrical energy consumption may be incorporated with minimal difficulty. A gas turbine plant may have an annual capacity factor of 5±25% due to relatively high energy production cost. Plants with higher fuel cost are throttled back to follow load. In a 2008 study released by the U. or hydropower with storage capacity. An interconnected electricity grid will already include reserve generating and transmission capacity to allow for equipment failures. capacity for storage or demand management. and so are run at full output and achieve a 90% capacity factor. but the economic implications become more significant. Beyond this level.

wind energy [27] produced covered more than half the electricity demand in Spain. Spain and Portugal (values over 11%). setting a new record. a few grid systems have penetration of wind energy above 5%: Denmark (values over 19%).S. in the morning hours of 8 November 2009. Germany and the Republic of Ireland (values over 6%). as photographed from U. Route 385 K       ã  ÷ . there can be times where wind power provides a substantial percentage of the power on a grid. But even with a modest level of penetration. This was an instance where demand was very low but wind power generation was very high.At present. For example. Wildorado Wind Ranch in Oldham Countyin the Texas Panhandle.

   ÷  .

At low levels of wind penetration. wind energy must be "scheduled". fluctuations in load and allowance for failure of large generating units requires reserve capacity that can also regulate for variability of wind generation. Because instantaneous electrical generation and consumption must remain in balance to maintain grid stability. this variability can present substantial challenges to incorporating large amounts of wind power into a grid system. Like other electricity sources.[28][29] . Wind power can be replaced by other power stations during low wind periods. Transmission networks must already cope with outages of generation plant and daily changes in electrical demand. Annual variation also exists. daily. Intermittency and the non-dispatchable nature of wind energy production can raise costs for regulation. but is not as significant. or storage solutions or system interconnection with HVDC cables. and (at high penetration levels) could require an increase in the already existing energy demand management. and seasonally. Wind power forecasting methods are used. Related to variability is the short-term (hourly or daily) predictability of wind plant output. Systems with large wind capacity components may need more spinning reserve (plants operating at less than full load). but predictability of wind plant output remains low for short-term operation. incremental operating reserve. load shedding.  Ò ÷  Electricity generated from wind power can be highly variable at several different timescales: from hour to hour.

The 2 GW Dinorwig pumped storage plant in Wales evens out electrical demand peaks. and have high installation costs. biogas and hydrostorage to provide load-following power around the clock.[40] The Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology of theUniversity of Kassel pilot-tested a combined power plant linking solar. Stored energy increases the economic value of wind energy since it can be shifted to displace higher cost generation during peak demand periods. solar energy typically peaks in summer. In particular geographic regions.[34] In the UK. Although pumped storage power systems are only about 75% efficient. A demonstration project at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy shows the effect. their low running costs and ability to reduce the required electrical base-load can [31][32] save both fuel and total electrical generation costs. Some utilities subsidize the purchase of geothermal heat pumps by their customers. A report on Denmark's wind power noted that their wind power network provided less than 1% of [42] average demand 54 days during the year 2002. for example. Another option is to interconnect widely dispersed geographic areas with an HVDC "Super grid". The potential revenue from this arbitrage can offset the cost and losses of storage.[39] Thus the intermittencies of wind and solar power tend to cancel each other somewhat. Electrical grids with slow-responding thermal power plants and without ties to networks with hydroelectric generation may have to limit the use of wind [42] power.[35][36] Solar power tends to be complementary to wind. wind. On seasonal timescales. [41] entirely from renewable sources. and so are wind speeds. In the USA it is estimated that to upgrade the transmission system to take in planned or potential renewables would cost at least $60 billion. and allows base-load suppliers to run their plant more efficiently.[33] widespread adoption of this technology would better match electricity demand to wind availability in areas with hot summers and low summer winds. high pressure areas tend to bring clear skies and low surface winds. Wind power advocates argue that these periods of low wind can be dealt with by simply restarting existing power stations that have been held in [43] readiness or interlinking with HVDC. to reduce electricity demand during the summer months by making air conditioning up to 70% more efficient. peak wind speeds may not coincide with peak demand for electrical power. whereas in many areas wind energy is lower in summer and higher in winter.Pumped-storage hydroelectricity or other forms of grid energy storage can store energy developed [30] by high-wind periods and release it when needed. the cost of storage may add 25% to the cost of any wind energy stored.[37][38] On daily to weekly timescales. In the US states of California andTexas. but it is not envisaged that this would apply to a large proportion of wind energy generated. . demand for electricity is higher in winter than in summer. hot days in summer may have low wind speed and high electrical demand due to air conditioning. whereas low pressure areas tend to be windier and cloudier.

can be quantified. as shown: [6] K      . and the additional [44] costs. generally agree that variability of wind needs to be taken into account.Three reports on the wind variability in the UK issued in 2009. but it does not make the grid unmanageable. A 2006 International Energy Agency forum presented costs for managing intermittency as a function of wind-energy's share of total capacity for several countries. which are modest.

 c    10% 20% r     .


interconnecting ten or more wind farms can allow an average of 33% of the total energy produced to be used as reliable.   Many commentators concentrate on whether or not wind has any "capacity credit" without defining what they mean by this and its relevance. worth 5 times [45] the capacity credit value ) is its fuel and CO2 savings. baseload electric power. using a widely accepted and meaningful definition. This means that reserve capacity on a system equal in MW to 20% of added wind could be retired when such wind is added without affecting system security or robustness. But the precise value is irrelevant since the main value of wind (in the UK. Wind does have a capacity credit. equal to about 20% of its rated output (but this figure varies depending on actual circumstances). Installation placement ã  ÷ . as long as minimum criteria are [46][47] met for wind speed and turbine height. According to a 2007 Stanford University study published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.



other factors include the availability of transmission lines. The larger the WPD at a location. Wind power classes 3 (300±400 W/m2 at 50 m altitude) to 7 (800±2000 W/m2 at 50 m altitude) are generally considered suitable for wind power development. in 2007 the US consumed electricity at an average rate of 474 GW. A map showing the distribution of wind power density is a first step in identifying possible locations for wind turbines.000 km in the contiguous United States that have 2 class 3 or higher wind resources and which are within 10 km of electric transmission lines.[÷  ] There are 625. Off-shore locations may offset their higher construction cost with higher annual load factors.[÷  ] For comparison.[49] from a total generating capacity of 1. If this area is fully utilized for wind power. thereby reducing cost of energy produced. the higher it is rated by class. cost of land acquisition.Good selection of a wind turbine site is critical to economic development of wind power. it would produce power at the average continuous equivalent rate of 734 GW e. In the United States. Aside from the availability of wind itself.[÷  ] Wind power density (WPD) is a calculation of the effective power of the wind at a particular [48] location.[50] Wind power usage Ò    . land use considerations. Wind farm designers use specialized wind energy software applications to evaluate the impact of these issues on a given wind farm design. the National Renewable Energy Laboratory classifies wind power density into ascending classes.088 GW. and environmental impact of construction and operations. value of energy to be produced.


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ë ë.

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The share of the top five countries in terms of new installations fell from 71% in 2004 to 62% in 2006. China. By 2008. but reached 22. but several states generate substantial amounts of wind power. Wind accounts for nearly one-fifth of electricity generated in Denmark ² the highest percentage of any country ² and it is tenth in the world in total wind power generation. As of mid-2010. 81% of wind power installations are in the US and Europe. China had originally set a generating target of 30.500 MW by end of 2009 and could easily surpass 30.410 MW installed.S. is currently the world's leader in wind power generation capacity. at 14. growing from just over 6 GW at the end of 2004 to over 35 GW at the end of 2009.S. in installed capacity for many years. Denmark is prominent in the manufacturing and use of wind turbines. following the World Wind Energy Conference organized by the Chinese and the World Wind Energy Association. wind power was .188 157. The country as a whole generates just 2.000 MW. over 200 GW of capacity would [54] have been installed worldwide.151 93. U. were Texas a separate country. the US has added substantial amounts of wind power generation capacity. fourteen U.[4] This would have ranked sixth in the world.2% in [55] 2009.[÷  ] In recent years.000 MW by end [58] of 2010. by 2010. with a total nameplate capacity of 157. Germany. A Chinese renewable energy law was adopted in November 2004. Department of Energy studies have concluded that wind from the Great Plains states of Texas. and that offshore wind farms could do the [56][57] same job. up from 73. and India ² have seen substantial capacity growth in the past two years (see chart). Indigenous wind power could generate up to 253.9 GW at the end of 2006. and led the U. Spain.[4] Texas is the state with the largest amount of generation capacity with 9. states had wind [4] power generation capacities in excess of 1000 MW. The World Wind Energy Association forecast that. and North Dakota could provide enough electricity to power the entire nation.000 MW by 2020 from renewable energy sources.899 MW of which wind power in Europe accounts for 48% (2009).927 121.[4] The U. but climbed to 73% by 2008 as those countries ² the United States.. World wind generation capacity more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2006.S.899  There are now many thousands of wind turbines operating. implying an anticipated net growth rate of more than 28% per year. Iowa is the state with the highest percentage of wind generation. with a commitment made in the 1970s to eventually produce half of the country's power by wind. California was one of the incubators of the modern wind power industry.4% of its electrical power from wind. =9(  W   (MW) 59. doubling about every three years.024 74. Kansas.S.

France has announced a target of 12. and showing an annual growth rate of [65] 38%. or 20% of the country's energy needs.growing faster in China than the government had planned. This growth was fed by measures including installation targets. with total installed capacity increasing from 137 MW to 1. By 2012 the project will have a capacity of 3.500 MW installed by 2010. Vestas. Micon among others. though their installation trends over the past few years suggest they'll fall well short of their goal.India. with total capacity doubling from the [66] 684 MW at end-2005. Muppandal village in Tamil Nadu state. Sempra Energy announced it would build a wind farm in Baja California. after the wind industry reached the [59] original goal of 5 GW three years ahead of schedule. and is one of the major wind energy harnessing centres in India led by majors like Suzlon. east of Vredendal in the Western Cape province.925 MW in 2009. . Particularly rapid growth was seen in 2006. at a cost of $5. [67] which may boost the wind industry across the province. In May 2010.[63] Another growing market is Brazil. with a capacity of at least 1. having more than doubled each year since 2005. with a wind potential of 143 GW. The station is proposed to have a total output of 100 MW although there are negotiations to double this capacity. with China shortly thereafter pursuing the United [59] States for the world wind power lead.[64] South Africa has a proposed station situated on the West Coast north of the Olifants River mouth near the town of Koekenaap. Current trends suggest an actual installed capacity near 20 GW by 2010. has several wind turbine farms in its vicinity. The plant could be operational by 2010. and will provide 13 percent of the electricity needs of the state of Oaxaca. referred to as 'Standard Offer Contracts'. Policymakers doubled their wind power prediction for 2010. Canada will reach its capacity of 55. Canada experienced rapid growth of wind capacity between 2000 and 2006. and indeed faster in percentage terms than in any other large country. economic incentives and political support. the provincially owned [68] electric utility plans to purchase an additional 2000 MW by 2013.000 MW. The World Wind Energy Conference in New Delhi in November [60] 2006 has given additional impetus to the Indian wind industry.451 MW.500 MW. [1] India ranks 5th in the world with a total wind power capacity of 10.5 billion. By 2025. or 3% of all electricity produced in India. For example.000 MW of wind energy. In Quebec. The 88 MW project is the first of its kind in Mexico.[61][62] Mexico recently opened La Venta II wind power project as a step toward reducing Mexico's consumption of fossil fuels. the Ontario government announced that it will introduce a feed-in tariff for wind power.

—  Wi  Pw G  i (TW·h)    c ici c  .

"   >   ("  ("  ("  "       (   ?  ?  ?  ?  ?    "    (  (           ("  "  "  (        " ("             ! !            $  "        "" #  $ ! ?    ? $$ ? !  ?   ? ? ? ?  ?   !   !     !$  $  !! !  !   r  $   !   $    ? $   ? $ ? $  ?    ? ? ? ?          $ !    !    !    !   !   $      $ ?   ?   ?  ! ?   ? ? ? ?   ?   ! !    !$    !           $ $  '  ! ?   ?  ! ?   ? ? ? ?  ?               !  =    =    !   !      !  %&   ?   !? $ ! ? ! $  ?   $ ? ? ?  ?  ? ? ." % ." % ." > ." ( .i (TW·h) f 10   c  i==!$= === = 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 % > %   %  > >  Ni   .

         !  = ! $   $ !    $  $ '"   ?    ? $  ?   ? ? ?  ? ?             !        $  !   !   !  ! (   ?   !?   ?   ? $ ? ? ? ?  ? ? "                   )*        ? $  ?   ?    $ ? ? ? ?  ?      $     $ $       $ $   ! $ $   !   +"* $ ?   ?  ? ? $  ? ? ? ?  ?   !   ! $  !  !  !  $       ! !$ !    ?   ? $ ? .

yet nameplate capacity (table on left) grew by 63% in the same period. 7 3. 9 53 260 %= . 15. ! ? ? ? ? ?      9 2 W  19 0.2 6 46 4. 21. Small-scale wind power Ò    . 16. 17 0.8 2.  2% 790 1% $ 5 % 0=  (TW·h) % % 9 % 3 % 5 % _  [80] Due to ever increasing sizes of turbines which hit maximum power at lower speeds energy produced has been rising faster than nameplate power capacity.5 34  . 19.7 12 0. = 4. 1.0 9 = 19. Energy more than doubled between 2006 and 2008 in the table above.

ã÷    .

around 12 pence (US 19 cents) a kW·h. In locations near or around a group of high-rise buildings.[86] . quantifying the amount of wind in urban areas has been difficult.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (Mt CO2) emission savings. This is based on the assumption that 10% of households would install turbines at costs competitive with grid electricity. Wind turbines have been used for household electricity generation in conjunction with battery storage over many decades in remote areas. A new Carbon Trust study into the potential of small-scale wind energy has found that small wind turbines could provide up to 1.[81] Isolated communities.4% of total UK electricity consumption).[82] The risks associated with mechanical or catastrophic failure have thus plagued urban wind development in densely populated [83] [84] areas. rendering the costs of insuring urban wind systems prohibitive. photovoltaic or diesel systems to supplement the wind turbine. This wind turbine charges a 12 V batteryto run 12 V appliances. or to reduce their carbon footprint. replacing the need for a connection to the power grid. saving 0. Grid-connected wind turbines may use grid energy storage. Ä   is the name given to wind generation systems with the capacity to produce up to 50 kW of electrical power. Moreover. especially at street-level. as little is known about the [85] actual wind resources of towns and cities. Equipment such as parking meters or wireless Internet gateways may be powered by a wind turbine that charges a small battery. that may otherwise rely ondiesel generators may use wind turbines to displace diesel fuel consumption.5 terawatt hours (TW·h) per year of electricity (0. wind shear generates areas of intense turbulence. Off-grid system users can either adapt to intermittent power or use batteries. displacing purchased energy with local production when available. Individuals may purchase these systems to reduce or eliminate their dependence on grid electricity for economic or other reasons.

Economics and feasibility 5 kilowatt Vertical axis wind turbine Windmill with rotating sails Š         . such as the [87] active filtering to enhance the power quality.Distributed generation from renewable resources is increasing as a consequence of the increased awareness of climate change. The electronic interfaces required to connect renewable generation units with the utility system can include additional functions.


and other . ÷   ÷÷  ÷ r     Wind power has negligible fuel costs. but a high capital cost. estimated annual production. return to investors (including cost of risk). The estimated average cost per unit incorporates the cost of construction of the turbine and transmission facilities. borrowed funds.

coal at $53. and Carbon capture and storage). Clean coal.[93] Although the wind power industry will be impacted by the global financial crisis in 2009 and 2010. Cost per unit of energy produced was estimated in 2006 to be comparable to the cost of new generating capacity in the US for coal and natural gas: wind cost was estimated at $55. even when subsidised. or US$36 billion. and some expected that downward trend to continue as larger multi-megawatt turbines were mass-produced. following 32% growth in 2006.components. More than 200 GW of new wind power capacity could come on line before the end of 2013.27 jobs. Despite constraints facing supply chains for wind turbines.80 per MW·h.[95] Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) figures show that 2007 recorded an increase of installed capacity of 20 GW. A British Wind Energy Association report gives an average generation cost of onshore wind power of around 3.6 percent each year. the wind energy sector has become one of the important players in the energy markets. with the total value of new generating equipment installed in 2007 reaching ¼25 billion.35 percent by 2013 and 8 percent by 2018.7 percent.300 a kW in 2007. the presence of wind energy.10/MW·h and natural gas at [89] $52. Energy cost estimates are highly dependent on these assumptions so published cost figures can differ substantially. In the [96][97] forecast to 2013 the expected average annual growth rate is 15. a BTM Consult five year forecast up to 2013 projects substantial growth. In terms of economic value. wind energy cost a fifth of what it did in the 1980s. Not as many facilities can produce large modern turbines and their towers and foundations. taking the total installed wind energy capacity to 94 GW. can reduce costs for consumers (¼5 billion/yr in Germany) by reducing the marginal price by minimising the use of expensive 'peaker plants'.[91] In 2004.100 a kW in [94][÷ ÷  ] 2005. [90] However. Wind power [96][97] market penetration is expected to reach 3. installed [93][ ÷  ] cost averaged ¼1.[92] However.50. up from 74 GW in 2006. compared to ¼1. .2 pence (between US 5 and 6 [88] cents) per kW·h (2005). Other sources in various studies have estimated wind to be more expensive than other sources (see Economics of new nuclear power plants. A 2009 study on wind power in Spain by the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos concluded that each installed MW of wind power destroyed 4. by raising energy costs and driving away electricity-intensive businesses. which may be in excess of twenty years. the annual market for wind continued to increase at an estimated rate of 37%. Over the past five years the average growth in new installations has been 27. averaged over the projected useful life of the equipment. so constraints develop in the supply of turbines resulting in higher costs.

000 MToE (million tons of oil equivalent) per year. not estimated average costs at project inception. Color codes indicate wind power density class.[99] 4    . 77 m diameter turbines per square kilometer on roughly 13% of the total global land area (though that land would also be available for other compatible uses such as farming).000 GWe which is to be compared with the average UK demand of about 40 GWe.Existing generation capacity represents sunk costs. The study assumes six 1. the choice to increase wind capacity will depend on factors including the profile of existing generation capacity. The practical limit to exploitation of wind power will be set by economic and environmental factors.5 megawatt. The authors acknowledge that many practical barriers would need to be overcome to reach this theoretical capacity. the estimated cost of new wind power capacity may be lower than that for "new coal" (estimated average costs for new generation capacity) but higher than for "old coal" (marginal cost of production for existing capacity). and the decision to continue production will depend on marginal costs going forward. The most comprehensive study As of 2005[98] found the potential of wind power on land and near-shore to be 72 TW. or over five times the world's current energy use in all forms. ¢     A recent estimate gives the total potential average output for UK for various depth and distance from the coast. ¢   c Map of available wind power for theUnited States. For example. equivalent to 54. Therefore. Wind power available in the atmosphere is much greater than current world energy consumption. since the resource available is far larger than any practical means to develop it. The maximum case considered was beyond 200 km from shore and in depths of 100 ± 700 m (necessitating floating wind turbines) and this gave an average resource of 2.9 m/s at 80 m. The potential takes into account only locations with mean annual wind speeds • 6.

and even incorporate an implicit subsidy. The wind which was historically a nuisance is now becoming a valuable resource. risk (as perceived by investors) will affect projected costs per unit of electricity. the marginal revenue of the wind sector as penetration increases may diminish. Where the price for electricity is based on market mechanisms. these prices may be different than purchase prices from other sources. whereby the system operator undertakes to purchase power from wind at a fixed price for a certain period (perhaps up to a limit). This may be of particular concern if the output of many wind plants in a market have strong temporal correlation. The marginal cost of wind energy [100] once a plant is constructed is usually less than 1 cent per kW·h. requiring substantially more money to construct new transmission lines and substations. thereby ensuring more stable returns for projects at the development stage. the average cost of wind energy per unit of production depends on a few key assumptions. If wind represents a significant portion of supply. These may take the form of standard offer contracts. let alone indirect subsidies or negative externalities. Customers may enter into long-term pricing contracts for wind to reduce the risk of future pricing changes. In some regions this is partly because frequent strong winds themselves have discouraged dense human settlement in especially windy areas. which imposes social costs in increased health expenses. The commercial viability of wind power also depends on the price paid to power producers. Since the primary cost of producing wind energy is construction and there are no fuel costs. The profitability of wind farms will therefore be higher if their production schedule coincides with these periods. revenue for all producers per unit is higher when their production coincides with periods of higher prices. are displaced from economic dispatch. average revenue per unit of production may be lower as more expensive and less-efficient forms of generation. For electric production.Many potential sites for wind farms are far from demand centres. the most significant externality is pollution. which typically set revenue [÷  ] levels. but it may be far from large populations which developed in areas more sheltered from wind. Since the cost of capital plays a large part in projected cost. Electricity prices are highly regulated worldwide. and in many locations may not reflect the full cost of production. In economic terms. !   . reduced .&## ("  ci  f  c   c + # & @ "&#"( 6*(""#" 6 #( ##( "   6 (& *  @ (August 2008) Most forms of energy production create some form of negative externality: costs that are not paid by the producer or consumer of the good. such as the cost of capital and years of assumed service.

United States. wind energy can be competitive in more cases. this wind farm has more turbines than any other in the United States. Intermittency and other characteristics of wind energy also have costs that may rise with higher levels of penetration. such as exemption from property . Critics argue that the level of required subsidies. If the external costs are taken into account. the credit has a yearly inflationary adjustment. once external costs and subsidies to other forms of electrical production are accounted for. Another tax benefit is accelerated depreciation. as costs have generally decreased because of technology development and scale enlargement. a greenhouse gas produced when fossil fuels are burned. carbon dioxide. loss of scenery/tourism. wind power receives a tax credit for each kW·h produced.9 cents per kW·h in 2006. either to increase its attractiveness. [101] Wind energy in many jurisdictions receives some financial or other support to encourage its development. or to compensate for subsidies received by other forms of production which have significant negative externalities.000 wind turbines atAltamont Pass. may impose even greater costs in the form of global warming. destruction of wild habitat. Few mechanisms currently exist to   these costs. the expense of transmission lines to connect the wind farms to population centers. K   Some of the over 6. etc. Many American states also provide incentives. and the total cost is highly uncertain. in California. the small amount of energy needs met. Other significant externalities can include military expenditures to ensure access to fossil fuels.agricultural productivity. In addition. at 1. Supporters argue that. wind energy is amongst the least costly forms of electrical production. Developed during a period of tax incentives in the 1980s. and the uncertain financial returns to wind projects make it inferior to other energy sources. and other problems. Wind energy benefits from subsidies in many jurisdictions. and may change the cost-benefit ratio. remediation of polluted sites. In the United States.

Secondary market forces also provide incentives for businesses to use wind-generated power. Countries such as Canada andGermany also provide incentives for wind turbine construction. and in return they can claim that they are making a powerful "green" effort. such as tax credits or minimum purchase prices for wind generation. For example. including microturbines. These feed-in tariffs are typically set well above average electricity prices. In the USA the organization Green-e monitors business compliance with these renewable energy credits. with assured grid access (sometimes referred to as feed-in tariffs). The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 contains extensions of credits for wind. socially responsible manufacturerspay utility companies a premium that goes to subsidize and build new wind power infrastructure. mandated purchases.[102] Ò. Companies use wind-generated even if there is a premium price for the electricity. and additional markets for "green credits".

invoking the peak oilhypothesis). go for a wider cost base (for example. A House of Lords Select Committee report (2008) on renewable energy in the UK says:[104] We have a particular concern over the prospective role of wind generated and other intermittent sources of electricity in the UK. focusing on the full fuel-cycle costs of nuclear and coal-mining for coal generation) and assume that these technologies are mature. Wind generation offers the most readily available short-term enhancement in renewable electricity and its base cost is relatively cheap. Helm (2009) is critical of how the costs of wind power are citied by lobbyists:[103] For those with an economic interest in capturing as much of the climate-change pork barrel as possible. although declining over time. remain significantly higher than those of conventional or nuclear generation (even before allowing for support costs and the environmental impacts of wind farms). there are two ways of presenting the costs [of wind power] in a favourable light: first. second.    Commenting on the EU's 2020 renewable energy target. the evidence suggests that the capacity credit of wind power (its probable power . and. assume that the costs will fall over time with R&D and large-scale deployment. in the absence of a break-through in electricity storage technology or the integration of the UK grid with that of continental Europe. when considering the alternatives. and even that costs might rise (for example. define the cost base as narrowly as possible. Yet the evidence presented to us implies that the full costs of wind generation (allowing for intermittency. for good measure. Furthermore. back-up conventional plant and grid connection). And.

possibly with a negative impact on energy security. so it cannot be relied upon to meet peak demand. the wind power industry has recently increased its lobbying efforts considerably. Environmental effects ã  ÷ . Thus wind generation needs to be viewed largely as additional capacity to that which will need to be provided. output at the time of need) is very low. in any event. In the United States. by more reliable means Helm (2009) says that wind's problem of intermittent supply will probably lead to another dash- [103] for-gas or dash-for-coal in Europe. spending about $5 million in 2009 after years of relative obscurity in [105] Washington.

[106] and continue to graze as they did before wind turbines were installed. Compared to the environmental effects of traditional energy sources. The energy consumed to manufacture and transport the materials used to build a wind power plant is equal to the new energy produced by the plant [107][108] within a few months of operation. "The impact made on the environment is very little when compared to what is gained. Wind power consumes no fuel. and emits no air pollution.   ÷   Livestock ignore wind turbines. Missouri states." The initial carbon dioxide emission from energy used in the installation is "paid back" within about 2.S. a scientist from UMKC in Kansas City.000 birds die each year from collisions with wind turbines in the U. the environmental effects of wind power are relatively minor.5 years of operation for offshore turbines. studies show that the number of birds killed by wind turbines is very low compared to the number of those that die as a result of certain other ways of generating electricity and especially of the environmental impacts of . and say that number may rise substantially as wind capacity increases in the absence of mandatory guidelines. Garrett Gross.[109] Danger to birds and bats has been a concern in some locations. unlike fossil fuel power sources.000 . American Bird Conservancy cites studies that indicate that about 10.[110] However.40.

Offshore wind sites 10 km or more from shore do not interact with bat populations. citing noise. the visual impact. law suits and complaints have been filed in several states. saying that the turbines are impressive looking and bring a calming effect to the town. repeated opinion surveys have shown that more than 70% of people either like. these issues can be addressed. Bat species appear to be at risk during key movement periods. many land uses such as agriculture are compatible. Aesthetics have also been an issue. According to a town councillor in Ardrossan. In the United States. Fossil fuel generation kills around twenty times as many birds [111] per unit of energy produced than wind-farms. In the USA. with only small areas of turbine foundations and infrastructure made unavailable for use. or do not mind. . the Massachusetts Cape Wind project was delayed for years mainly because of aesthetic concerns. using non-clean power sources.[113] With careful implanting of the wind turbines. along with use of noise reducing-modifications for the wind turbines however. vibrations and resulting lost property values in homes and businesses located close to industrial wind turbines. the overwhelming majority of locals believe that the Ardrossan Wind Farm has enhanced the area. Scotland. Almost nothing is known about current populations of these species and the impact on bat numbers as a result of mortality at windpower locations. In the UK. While a wind farm may cover a large area of land.[112] Noise has also been an issue.